France prepares for July Afghan withdrawal; complete it by year-end.

French soldiers from the 27ème bataillon de chasseurs alpins and…

French soldiers from the 27ème bataillon de chasseurs alpins and French Task Force Tiger patrol the many valleys of Kapisa province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2009. Maj. Patrick Simo./Wiki

Mr Hollande said France would pay a “national homage” to the men killed in a suicide bombing and that five wounded soldiers would be repatriated rapidly.

Mr Hollande said the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan, one of his presidential campaign pledges, “will begin in the month of July, will be carried out and be completed at the end of 2012.”

“In the meantime, everything must be done for our troops to meet their obligations but with the highest level of security and with the greatest vigilance for the lives of the soldiers.

Some 3,500 French soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul and in Kapisa, the fifth largest contingent in NATO’s 130,000-strong US-led force.

Source: AFP/ABC News

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